20 Nov Holiday Eating 101
Holiday Eating 101
It’s that time of the year where we are surrounded by friends, family and…….bad food choices! Say whhhhhhat? Let’s face it, this time of the year is centered around food and it’s almost unavoidable. It’s perfectly OK to indulge on occasion, key word “occasion”, without guilt. The trick is to MINDFULLY enjoy what you are eating to avoid overindulging and gaining weight in the process. I put together some tips to share that can help keep you on track this holiday season.
Stay hydrated. While running to and from events, it can be easy to forget to drink enough water. However, drinking water helps maintain the balance of fluids in the body, responsible for many different functions. From digestion to transportation and absorption of nutrients, drinking water can also help control calories. Foods with a high water content, such as fruits, vegetables and fats, are absorbed more slowly by the body, aiding fullness which can prevent overeating. Drink your water and keep your electrolytes high. The more balanced you are, the better you feel.
Don’t go to a party hungry. It can be very hard to resist a plateful of appetizers or a buffet of endless desserts if attending a party on an empty stomach. Eating a small, nutritious meal prior to attending dinner eases hunger while allowing for a small, reasonable indulgence later. There is nothing wrong with rejecting food politely. The power of “no thank you” will save you from overindulging. I always eat before going to an event where there will be food so I am not tempted by sugar laden desserts. I’m also notorious for bringing my food with me so I can eat after I leave while driving home. Do what works for you and what will help keep you on track.
Pack snacks to avoid fast food. When running errands with no time to spare for a full meal, temptation to use the drive-through window for some fries can be avoided with a little preparation. I recommend grabbing snacks that are full of fiber and fats. Things like, plain nuts, whole food protein bars, fruit, veggies, organic clean beef jerky, Fuel for Fire, etc. These will keep you full and satisfied until you are able to get in a full meal. Don’t forget to hydrate too! Water can hold off any hunger pangs if healthy snacks are not available.
Get adequate sleep. While late nights make it hard to stick to a regular sleep schedule, sleep deprivation can cause not only fatigue the following day, but also lead to overeating. Individuals who sleep less than 5 hours a night are more likely to crave (and end up eating) more high-calorie, high “bad carb” (aka SUGAR) foods. Sleep duration has a significant impact on the hormones which regulate hunger — ghrelin and leptin — (you can read this in my sleep blog) thereby stimulating the appetite. Best defense? Sleep. If that’s not an option, recognize that you are sleep deprived and be mindful of your food choices. Realize the WHY behind what you are craving.
Drink smarter. Since cutting out alcohol is not realistic for most during the holiday season, limiting intake is crucial for moderating calories. Alternating each drink with a glass of water helps avoid over-indulging. Next, cut out sugary mixers and choose to sip a drink on ice or mixed with soda water. In addition, avoid the common plan to avoid eating all day and “save up calories” for drinking later on. Alcohol actually causes a spike in insulin levels which in turn will cause you to overeat in the end. So now, not only have you drank more than you should have, but you’ve eaten way more than you anticipated. Therefore, it is mush smarter plan to have less to drink and eat food as normal throughout the day.
Wear fitted clothes. Before sitting down to a big dinner, consider clothing options. An elastic waistband is much more forgiving than a belt and structured pants or jeans. I know we all live in our workout clothes, but for the holidays, this can do more harm than good. Wearing clothing that is more fitted can be simple reminder that’s just enough to save us from overeating.
Don’t eat mindlessly. Many times meals are eaten while multi-tasking, which can lead to mindless over-eating. According to research, when removing the mind and taking the visual aspect out of eating, it increases the amount of food eaten. Taking a dedicated 20 minutes to fully chew, swallow, and enjoy a meal can be a meaningful, restorative break in the day, while avoiding excess calories.
Indulge a little. Depriving yourself of favorite holiday-only treats can lead to an unplanned binge, especially when stress levels are elevated. Treat yourself a little bit but always following the rule of moderation. And remember the most important part of indulging for one meal is to get back on track IMMEDIATELY following that meal. That will set you for success into the following days.
Keep Your Exercise Routine. Usually when one thing goes everything else seems to fall off with it. I’ve noticed with most people when they’re off their meal plan, the training goes with it. Stick to your training schedule and you’ll be more likely to stay on track with your eating.
I hope this helps! One other secret I share with people is the 5 min rule. This is key. If you are contemplating eating or drinking something, give it a good solid 5 minutes of thought. Ask yourself why you want it and how will you feel after you’ve eaten it. If the reasons are good enough, then eat or drink it, but if they’re not, then skip it. As always, feel free to reach out to me with any questions you have regarding nutrition and training. Enjoy the holidays everyone!
Over and Out,